Changes in Direction – a Journal provides multivocal and transnational African-European statements to current decoloniality debates from different perspectives. The Finnish-German artist Laura Horelli engages with the traumatic and complex histories of colonialism and international solidarity between East Germany, Finland and Namibia, staging micro-historical interventions in public spaces. Her films transform the archive into a space – and publication – of reflective engagement.
The screening programme Changes in Direction starts with Namibia Today (2017), on view until March 3. The public artwork Namibia Today hung as a temporary installation at the Schillingstraße Underground Station for ten months. Before it was taken down, Laura Horelli produced a film on the location. The eponymous lm dug deeper into the topic by introducing narratives of protagonists living in Berlin, both Namibians with a past in the GDR and former East Germans with relations to the Namibian liberation movement SWAPO.
On view from March 4–10, Interviews (2018) presents a selection of the sound recordings made in Windhoek – more precisely those with Peter Katjavivi, Tshoombe Ndadi and Tarah Shinavene. In 2018, the artist glued the transcribed interview texts on the outside, corridor and balcony walls of the building she was staying in close to Lisbon. The lmed texts were synchronized with the audio interviews. That same year the artist showed the resulting videos to the interviewees in Windhoek and further, small adjustments were made.
Laura Horelli’s Newstime (2019) will be on view from March 11–17. Newstime is a found footage film, which discusses cultural differences, being an outsider, the Namibian independence struggle, and Finland’s long-term ties with the Southern African country. The film consists entirely of archival material from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. TV programmes showing everyday life are set against a voice-over by Ellen Ndeshi Namhila reading from her autobiography The Price of Freedom. Namhila spent seven years in Tampere as a refugee on a scholarship, studying library science. She recounts her experiences, ranging from single parenthood to observations on missionaries in Namibia and the church in Finland. Everyday scenes manifest how Namhila possibly saw the fairly homogeneous Finnish society she lived in. News clips about the Namibian independence struggle frame the narrative. They feature SWAPO students, visiting politicians, and representatives of the United Nations and NGOs. Since Namibia was under the apartheid regime until 1990, archival material about the history of SWAPO can be found in countries where members of the liberation movement were in exile.
Laura Horelli (b. 1976, Helsinki) lives in Berlin and works with experimental documentary video. She is interested in representations and mediations of the past taking on a microhistorical approach. Her works have been exhibited at Venice Biennale (2001, 2009), Manifesta 5, (2004), ARS 11, Kiasma (2001, 2011), Galerie Barbara Weiss (2003, 2007, 2011) and Badischer Kunstverein (2014). She has participated in film festivals like Berlinale Forum Expanded (2017, 2018), ISFF Oberhausen (2018), IndieLisboa (2017), Kasseler Dokfest (2013) and CPH:DOX (2009). In 2011, she received the Hannah Höch Prize for Young Artists.
Changes in Direction, March 2021, Archive Books
More information: Archive Books